Virtual Slavery Ch. 03bywltedford©
Of course everything changed in Boston.
Even in the glorious insanity of that first month in California, I always knew it would. And I assumed Winston did too. But, in retrospect, perhaps he didn't. At least not that it would change so much. How could he? Even I didn't know that.
It was love at first sight. Imagine the late unlamented Marlboro man suddenly coming to life beside you, but with charm and intelligence. And smiling eyes. Weathered from flying and sailing, not horses.
It was all perfect. I have never known anything like it, and if Winston has--I know he loved Julie, his last wife, to the day she died, and perhaps beyond--he has been sensitive enough not to say so. Until then, I had never wanted a man more. Not even close. I had never wanted a man to just take me and make me his, turn me inside out and upside down, right, left and backwards. I had heard other woman talk about feeling that way, but I thought it was just talk.
Once he tied me naked to a giant redwood tree, just off a trail in Muir Woods, and left me there for what was only five or ten minutes but felt like forever. I was pretty much hidden from view, but anyone could have come along. When he returned, he ran a finger slowly down my back, starting at my neck. Before he reached my ass, I came. Just from being touched by a single finger. I wouldn't have believed it possible.
I was not very experienced then. Winston was only the fourth man in my entire life. So I didn't have much basis for comparison. Even now when I have so exhaustive and exhausting a basis for comparison, he is still exceptional. It was most definitely not: marry in haste; repent at leisure. At least not for me. And I don't think for him. Despite everything that has happened, I still love him, though I can't expect him to believe that.
The problems were my work and winter.
I did not realize how much more demanding being a partner would be. In addition to managing my fund, I had all sorts of new responsibilities, and all kinds of new people to meet with, and many more places to be. The work day kept becoming longer and longer. And, unfortunately, I am one of those people who really need nine hours sleep. I know it got to the point where all I did was work, come home late for dinner, have a drink, eat whatever Lean Cuisine Winston had heated or takeaway I had picked up, and sleep. And get up the next morning and do it all again. My mother's generation grew up to be like their mothers. Girls of my generation grew up to be like their fathers. Or exceeded them, as I did. I don't deny that I take satisfaction that I made it to the top, while my father never rose above the middle.
And perhaps partly it was that being back here alone for the first couple of months, except for those weekends he arranged to fly to Boston, I fell back into my old pattern. Sex didn't play much part in my first marriage. And I can't say I really missed it then.
Meeting one another changed both our lives, but Winston's more than mine. His flying days were almost over anyway. He was due to retire in a year and simply moved the date forward. He is well off by most standards. The house in Tiburon sold for almost a million; and he has close to another million in various stocks; and a good pension. He and Julie had planned to travel. Not just travel, for he has flown all his life, but to live in various places for a while, however long they wanted, rather than fly in one day and out the next. Maybe buy a bigger boat and liveaboard and sail. He is an energetic man. He is not content simply to sit in a comfortable chair and watch television. If he were, I never would have fallen in love with him.
By the time he had taken care of his financial affairs in California--and it was his idea to sell his house; we could easily have kept both homes--and drove across country, two months had passed and winter was beginning here. Winston grew up in San Diego and had never lived through a real winter. He had always flown into winter and then flown right back out. Brief interludes of snow and cold do not prepare you for New England. He was used to California living and suddenly he found himself cooped up inside for months with nothing to do and a wife who wasn't much around.
Everything just kind of tapered down.
I truly tried to find time and energy for us. We went away for a few weekends to inns where I deliberately didn't take any work or a cell phone or a computer. I bought him a camcorder to make videos of us having sex. I knew he masturbated over them. I knew he needed more than I was giving him, and I didn't want him to start having affairs. But I just couldn't give more.
One evening, not long after our first anniversary, Winston finally said that I ought to quit, that I would have to choose between our marriage and my career. Perhaps I should have. My total compensation my first year as a full partner was about the same as Winston's net worth. But it wasn't about money. This was my identity, this is what I had worked for all my life; and I wanted to enjoy it.
That was a year ago. I was 34 and Winston 54. I asked him for five years. Not even five more years. Just let me have five years as a partner. One had passed, so only four more. He would still only be 58. And we would have several million more dollars. We could buy any kind of boat he wanted. We could build a house anywhere he wanted. We would have the rest of our lives to do anything we wanted. He argued that we already had enough to do all those things and that the only thing he would do if he had more money would be to drink more expensive wine. He was right. But, as I have said, it wasn't about money. And finally he agreed. He would stick it out for four more years so long as he knew that it was written in stone that that was it. Thanks for the memories, Broadthroup and Brown, and goodbye.
Pleased with the success of my negotiating skills, I continued onward, wheeling and dealing, being a shining star, a shaker and mover, a young success, a role model, the envy of all.
I was invited to speak to national organizations; I was on committees and boards; I was often on television. And I was thrilled when I was chosen to appear on the cover of FORBES magazine.
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